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Shen'ao power plant plan shelved: premier

2018/10/12 15:15:00

Shen'ao power plant (photo courtesy of Taiwan Power Co.)

Taipei, Oct. 12 (CNA) In a policy reversal by the government, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said Friday he has agreed with a decision made by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) to shelve a project to expand capacity at the coal-fired Shen'ao power plant in New Taipei.

At a legislative hearing, Lai said the completion of a third liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal on the Taoyuan coast would support an increase in power generation big enough to drop the Shen'ao power plant project.

"The Executive Yuan supports the MOEA's decision," Lai said.

The decision was in line with remarks Lai made at the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday when he said the proposal to reopen and expand the Shen'ao power plant would depend on whether Taiwan can generate enough electricity from gas-fired power plants to meet future demand.

It also represented a U-turn from March 2018, when Lai's administration approved an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the Shen'ao facility and appeared determined to proceed with the project.

At the time, the MOEA said it was necessary to meet reserve margin targets in 2025, by which time Taiwan will have phased out nuclear power. It made that projection even with the third LNG receiving terminal on the drawing board and undergoing an EIA of its own.

The Shen'ao plant project has been vigorously opposed by environmentalists and New Taipei residents, who worried it would worsen air pollution in their neighborhoods.

Lai's decision to change course came after the third LNG receiving terminal passed an EIA on Monday.

According to state-run oil refinery CPC Corp. Taiwan, which will build the facility, the LNG terminal is expected to start operating in 2023 and supply 500,000 metric tons of LNG in the first quarter of that year.

The supply is expected to rise to 3 million metric tons a year in 2025.

The MOEA said it has been studying the possibility of adding new gas-fired power generators in existing gas-fired power plants in Linkou in New Taipei or in Datan in Taoyuan that will use gas from the new LNG terminal.

In addition to supplying existing and future Datan gas-fired power facilities, which will generate 3 million kilowatts, Economic Affairs Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said at Friday's hearing the third LNG receiving terminal will have enough supply for additional production of more than 1.2 million kilowatts of electricity.

Based on that, Shen said the MOEA felt the power supply would be adequate and decided not to build the Shen'ao power plant project, which was to have generating capacity of 1.2 million kilowatts.

(By Wang Cheng-chung and Frances Huang)
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